NEW YORK — Cher will come out of “retirement” to perform in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, appearing in the lineup just before the only star big enough to have the “Believe” singer as an opener: Santa Claus.
The Grammy-, Emmy- and Oscar-winner will perform at the end of the 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, thrilling the audience before the man of the hour closes the festivities.
Timing will be perfect for the 77-year-old superstar, who just released her first new album in five years, “Christmas.” She’s also expected to drop a 25th anniversary edition of 1998’s “Believe” on Friday.
This year’s parade will begin 30 minutes earlier than usual, at 8:30 a.m., to accommodate a packed schedule of performers and celebrities, Macy’s announced Wednesday.
“Our talented team of Macy’s Studios artisans and production specialists work year-round to deliver the nation’s most beloved holiday event, live on Thanksgiving morning,” parade producer Will Cross said in a statement.
Grammy winner Jon Batiste will open the parade. Other performers include Pentatonix, Manuel Turizo, Chicago, Brandy and Jessie James Decker, among many more.
This year’s parade will include 5,000 volunteers, 16 featured character balloons, 26 floats, 32 heritage and novelty balloons, 12 marching bands and nine performance groups. One of the marching bands will come from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, site of a mass shooting in 2018.
Olympic gymnastics silver medalist Jordan Chiles, Paralympic swimming gold medalist Jessica Long and 2023 Miss America Grace Stanke will be in attendance, with parade organizers teasing “additional stars to be announced.”
There will be seven new massive balloons this year, including Po from “Kung Fu Panda” and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Classics including SpongeBob, Ronald McDonald and Pikachu will return as well.
Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker from the “Today” show will host the festivities on NBC.
In recent years, Macy’s has sought to have superstars perform near the end of the parade to signal Santa’s entrance. The “Queen of Christmas,” Mariah Carey, got the honor last year.